Opinion: The Las Vegas shooting and our ‘thoughts and prayers’

Police are arrayed outside the Mandalay Bay resort and casino after a mass shooting, Oct. 1. (AP Photo / John Locher)

The news from Las Vegas is heart-breaking. At least 58 are dead, and more than 500 others wounded, after a man believed to be acting alone opened fire on a crowd of concert-goers from his room at a nearby hotel. It is reportedly the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

As the hours pass and law enforcement remains mostly mum about the details of the attack — other than saying, for now, there is no known connection between the shooter* and international terrorist organizations such as ISIS, which rather dubiously has claimed credit for the killings — some are tempted to proceed to the debate about what ought to be done in response. There’ll be a time for that debate, but not until we know what actually happened, and thus what specific changes might have prevented it.

Until then, a word about what we so often hear after such horrific things: that our thoughts and prayers are with the victims.

This is a good and natural response. People of faith should seek comfort, for all those involved and for ourselves as a nation, in times of tragedy. Likewise, those who don’t adhere to a religious tradition are right to be mindful of the same. But we shouldn’t stop at the seeking of comfort.

We don’t know yet why that man in Las Vegas decided to kill dozens of people last night, and we may never know for certain, but it surely wasn’t out of love or compassion or goodwill. It is fair to assume, whatever the particular thoughts that passed through his mind, he was acting out of anger and hatred and malice.

And if there’s one thing we know about contemporary America, it’s that anger and hatred and malice are far too widespread.

We need not look too far back in the calendar. Think of Charlottesville. Think of the shooting at the GOP’s congressional baseball practice. Think of the bitter reactions to the NFL player protests, and of the reactions to the reactions.

Think of the daily dose of self-righteousness and disdain injected into your social media timelines, whether by you or by others.

If you are going to pray after Las Vegas, don’t pray only for the victims there; pray also for a stop to, and healing from, the fear and loathing spread all across this land. If you are going to keep the victims in your thoughts, be mindful as well of the small but fast-accumulating pile of petty hatred that poisons the society and people we call America.

We cannot eradicate those ills, which are part of our human nature. But we can choose to temper them, to better govern our words and deeds, to break out of the patterns that have brought us to this point, to reflect when we’re tempted to lash out. We can choose not to add to that pile, because it’s already too large.

*As is my custom, I’m not granting him even a bit of notoriety by naming him.

Reader Comments 0

131 comments
panacifuga
panacifuga

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bidunek
bidunek

We could more aggressively enforce the law prohibiting possession of a fully automatic weapon without a Federal license. We could go after the source of the parts that were used. >>>>>>>+*www.2morepath.com


SGTGrit
SGTGrit

They've located Marilou Danley in the Philippines where she originally came from. She is once again being named a person of interest. They've found firearms, ammo and explosives and bomb making material in Paddocks home where he lived near Las Vegas and in his other homes he owned that have been unoccupied. He's sent tens of thousands of dollars to the Philippines and it's unclear to whom this money was sent. The Philippines is a hot bed of radical Muslim terrorism in Southeast Asia. It's sounding more like the motive trail is leading towards an Islamic foreign terrorist direction.

TheCentrist
TheCentrist

Yep, what we need is our thoughts and prayers for more high -capacity magazines, assault weapons, and silencers in the hands of "law abiding citizens.  SMH.

BillyRip
BillyRip

 You say, Chicago and the gun violence carnage there that is far greater in numbers. And in a state that has some of the strictest gun control measures, folks are still killed by guns. However, folks in Chicago can take the very short drive to Indiana to buy guns wholesale without any problems. More gun control is needed. That's the bottom line up front

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@breckenridge 

trash cracker 

You like ^^^ that one, do 'ya?

Might wanna consider how it can backfire on 'ya.

Double entendre?

You might end up the trash and your chosen opponent, the cracker.


bendedknee
bendedknee

@breckenridge Take a look at who supplies the guns. A lot come from states like Georgia where you can buy them by the carload without registration.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Last month 130 people were killed or wounded in mass shootings (4 or more victims, not including the shooter) in America.  There were 27 mass shooting incidents in September. To date there have been 273 mass shootings this year.

Thus far in 2017, in America, there have been a total of 46,695 shootings that have left 11,686 people dead and 23,717 injured.


The US, with a population that is six times that of the England, has a homicide by gun rate that is 160 times higher annually than that of England.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

If anyone can shed some light on what made Paddock tick it could be his girl friend Marilou Danley, who seems to be avoiding the investigators and hanging out somewhere out of the country. Clearly Paddock's brother either didn't know him very well or is holding something back.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@SGTGrit


She might have some clues. But clearly this guy didn't express any grievances. the baseball shooter at congress was easily identified. I think we won't find anything and we will be stuck with never knowing the why.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@McGarnagle @SGTGrit 

I disagree I think that the investigative digging could uncover a workable clue. They just discovered that Paddock had transferred a very large sum of money to the Philippines just before the shooting. Evidently, his girlfriend has Philippine ties. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@bendedknee @SGTGrit

Cute

He knew the event which means he knew it would be mostly whites and mostly Cons.

Since he was white, it does not leave much other than politics.

I will be very surprised if he is not a bleeding heart.

There was a report he sued the company who owns the hotel.  There could be some twisted tie to that, for example damaging the location in retribution.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@SGTGrit @McGarnagle


So his girlfriend brainwashed him? Was she the one pulling the strings? Frankly the attention given to the shooter is growing.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@McGarnagle @SGTGrit 

The attention being given to what motivated this individual to plan and execute this horrific act is certainly there and not going away until some answers are uncovered.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

I find in order to address what I consider THE biggest problem, I do have to pile on.

That being the constant whining, complaining, and disparaging of this country and their political foes that comes from the Left.

There is not two cents worth of difference between MSM and Dims.  In fact, MSM has become the leaders of the Democrats as they are sorely lacking for politicians who can do so (only the Repub Congress is worse, but that's for another thread).

The 24/7 news cycle with network talking heads blasting Trump and everything that is America has become too much.

The media portion of that is treason.

Libs long for socialism not realizing that if we were a socialist country the heads of their pundits would be on spikes.

Repubs have won historic political victories since the first mid-term after Obama's election.

We just won the White House putting in someone to shake things up.

The Dims not accepting rejection, clear rejection and more than just Trump winning, are like 2 year olds throwing a continuous tantrum.

Quite frankly, its surprising there are not more political tied violence and the only reason I can think why there isn't is, we work. 

breckenridge
breckenridge

@JohnnyReb 

Of course there is no reason to believe the Vegas shooting was politically motivated. In fact, the shooter's brother said he was neither political nor religious.

As for Trump........I can't even begin to fathom why he's going to Puerto Rico today.  Puerto Ricans hate his racist guts. Don't be surprised if he's pelted with rotten vegetables down there.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@JohnnyReb


"That being the constant whining, complaining, and disparaging of this country and their political foes"


JReb wake up. This is what the president has done since the start of his campaign. American carnage he called it.


Nevertheless Dims not going away. The flow of power goes back and forth. Suggest we learn to live together.

Caius
Caius

@JohnnyReb "The 24/7 news cycle with network talking heads blasting Trump and everything that is America has become too much.

The media portion of that is treason."

US Constitution, Article III, Section 3: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court."

TheCentrist
TheCentrist

@JohnnyReb And all you have to show for all that winning is no healthcare replacement, no immigration reform, no economic development/job creation strategy, no foreign policy, and tax reform for the 95%. 


What we do have is a lot of excuses.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@breckenridge 

 I'm not going to let you put words in my mouth trash cracker.

...you're dumb as a stump. 

Did you take anything of value away from Kyle's article?

Is impulse control a problem for you?

breckenridge
breckenridge

@FIGMO2 @breckenridge 

Actually I'm kind of fond of trash cracker, I just thought that one up on the spot. I'll probably use it in the future.

breckenridge
breckenridge

The stupid losers that are ISIS claimed responsibility for the Vegas shooting, a claim that was quickly rejected as nonsense.  ISIS is desperate, they're getting their tails kicked all across the desert, and are looking to inspire their rabid followers in any way possible.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Johnny Reb put out a big endorsement of the Fox coverage of Vegas over at Jay's place last night.


I will say this for Fox; since the Murdoch brothers took over operations last year they have made significant progress. They've drained the swamp of some of the perverts, molesters and sexual miscreants by getting rid of Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly.  But those two were just the scum floating on the top of the swamp, there is still more work to be done.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@breckenridge

What I wrote was an endorsement of Hannity's monologue.

I also wrote something similar to what I posted above that calls out Dims/Libs/Progs as being the root of the problems we have.

Your group is like a 2 yr old throwing continuous tantrums.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@DS

Kimmel's idiocy is exceeded only by that of those who agree with him.

I'm just thankful he is not mandatory viewing.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Great article, Kyle!

If you are going to pray after Las Vegas, don’t pray only for the victims there; pray also for a stop to, and healing from, the fear and loathing spread all across this land. If you are going to keep the victims in your thoughts, be mindful as well of the small but fast-accumulating pile of petty hatred that poisons the society and people we call America.

I can only hope that the victims lived a life of abundance before being without...that their families and friends hold memories from which they can draw comfort and joy.

Redemption and lift is what I seek. 

breckenridge
breckenridge

These people crying for gun control always seem to overlook Chicago and the gun violence carnage there that is far greater in numbers

The Chicago shootings, with very few exceptions, are between gangs fighting for drug turf. It's a battle that has been going on for several years.  It is violence with a purpose.  As opposed to just knocking out a window and randomly shooting about 600 people at a concert.

Nice try, but you're apologist garbage won't fly.


SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@breckenridge 

Well you just advertised your utter ignorance. "It is violence with a purpose" don't you realize how stupid that comment makes you sound? Are you saying that the gang gun violence in Chicago is justifiable, while the Las Vegas gun violence was not justifiable because the shooter had no purpose? Of course he had a purpose maybe he didn't like country music concert attendees because they're patriotic conservative Americans. Maybe he was inspired by ISIS as they claim or maybe he was just a deranged idiot who hated people and his purpose was to kill as many of them as possible. Geez get over yourself breckenridge. 

breckenridge
breckenridge

@SGTGrit @breckenridge 

Did I say justifiable? No, that's not what I said, and you know goddam well that's not what I said. I'm not going to let you put words in my mouth trash cracker.

In Chicago, gang members are killing other gang members.  These are people that they know, and they are killing them for a purpose - money.

In Vegas,some stupid loser just decided to gun down a bunch of people he did not know, had never met, had no beef with.

If you can't tell the difference you're dumb as a stump.

Caius
Caius

@SGTGrit @breckenridge Maybe he was just a lover of firearms and wanted to see what it felt like to actually use the firearms for what they were actually made to do.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@breckenridge @SGTGrit 

Violence is violence ignorant one. The victims of gun violence regardless of the shooters motives are equally just as dead.